Ozaukee whips up late comeback, churns past Cedar Grove-Belgium for satisfying upset victory
On a night when two hard-nosed football teams were happy to exchange blows, the Ozaukee Warriors delivered the knockout punch.
Playing in front of their largest home crowd in recent memory, the Warriors capped a festive evening by rallying for a 35-28 win in a slugfest to open the Central Lakeshore Conference season last Friday.
Devon Linzenmeyer scored four touchdowns for Ozaukee, including a pair in the fourth quarter that allowed his team to overcome a 28-21 deficit and hand the defending CLC champions their first league loss since 2007.
Linzenmeyer, a junior running back, finished with a game-high 106 yards on 26 carries, including the winning score on a 1-yard burst with 3 minutes, 58 seconds to play.
â€śThis was a really big win for our program,â€ť said first-year Ozaukee coach Jim Lippe, whose team improved to 2-0 overall.
â€śCedar Grove had not lost a conference game in two years, and they beat us big the last two years.â€ť
Ozaukee fans held several events to help fill the stands, including a pregame pig roast and ceremonies that honored local emergency personnel and the Warriorsâ€™ first conference championship team in 1976.
Cedar Grove-Belgium, which had not lost to Ozaukee in eight years, jumped ahead early and scored four touchdowns in the first two quarters on the way to a 28-21 lead at halftime.
Hunter Buechler, a junior halfback, scored on runs of seven and 10 yards for the Rockets, who also got touchdown passes from quarterback Travis Obbink.
Obbinkâ€™s 6-yard scoring strike to tight end Jonathan Herzog with just 23 seconds left in the half gave Cedar Grove-Belgium its final lead.
However, the Warriors matched each Cedar Grove-Belgium touchdown with one of their own. Besides Linzenmeyerâ€™s first two scoring runs (from 22 and two yards out), quarterback Alex Janke threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to Jason Gensrick in the first period.
Although the third quarter was scoreless, Cedar Grove-Belgium took a major hit when Buechler left with a leg injury that sidelined him the rest of the game.
â€śLosing Hunter definitely hurt us,â€ť said Rockets coach Chris Zablocki, whose team fell to 1-2 overall. â€śWe didnâ€™t have him on either offense or defense (as a linebacker).
â€śBut our other kids stepped up, played hard and made a game of it. We had our chances, but we made too many mistakes.â€ť
The Warriors took control with a big special-teams play in the fourth quarter.
With 8:55 left, Hunter Hess blocked a punt deep in Rocketsâ€™ territory, and Linzenmeyer recovered the ball in the end zone.
Eric Hartnett converted the fourth of his five extra-point kicks to tie the game at 28-28.
â€śThat was a huge play with a huge momentum swing for us,â€ť Lippe said. â€śIt was a big turning point.â€ť
Ozaukeeâ€™s defense â€” which held the Rockets to just four first downs and forced five turnovers â€” continued to step up late in the fourth quarter.
The Warriorsâ€™ comeback was capped by Linzenmeyerâ€™s final score.
â€śWe faced a lot of adversity in the first half,â€ť Lippe said. â€śParticularly, we struggled a lot in the first half on special teams.
â€śBut we came back and gave up no points in the second half.â€ť
Obbink completed three of nine passes for 71 yards but had three interceptions â€” by Janke, Gensrick and Steve Street.
Lippe singled out the play of defensive end Matt Demler and Josh Paape, the latter of whom â€śplayed really well on the O-line and at defensive tackle.â€ť
The Warriors finished with 330 yards in total offense, including 193 passing and 137 on the ground.
Janke completed seven of 14 passes. His top target was Gensrick, a wide receiver who had three catches for 155 yards.
â€śAlex showed a lot of poise. He works really hard and does a good job,â€ť Lippe said.
Buechler led the Rocketsâ€™ running game with 73 yards on 17 carries.
Zach Schulz intercepted a pass for Cedar Grove-Belgium.
â€śIt was a tough loss for us, but you have to give all the credit to Ozaukee,â€ť Zablocki said.
â€śWe knew it would be a tough game because Ozaukee is much improved. We moved the ball, but they took advantage of our mistakes.â€ť
The Rockets will try to get back on track this Friday when they host Random Lake in a Parents Night game at 7 p.m.
Buechler is expected to miss that game as well as a Sept. 24 game at Sheboygan Lutheran, Zablocki said.
Ozaukee will receive a gift win Friday. Stockbridge, the Warriorsâ€™ scheduled opponent, has forfeited the rest of its season due to a shortage of players.
The Warriorsâ€™ next game will be Sept. 24 at Oostburg.
RUNNING BACK Devon Linzenmeyer pulled free of Cedar Grove-Belgiumâ€™s Chris Peszko on his way through the line in Ozaukeeâ€™s 35-28 upset win Friday. Linzenmeyer, a junior, ran for 106 yards and had four touchdowns, including the winning score with less than four minutes to play.Â Photo by Sam Arendt